Sunday, October 19, 2014

Raising up Arrows... and DIY's.

I think it's so amazing how challenging times squeeze creativity out of my veins.  With recent challenges in motherhood I've been hearing talk about raising up arrows at every turn and it's caused my thinking to twist in a new, purposeful direction. It comes from the verse in Psalm 127:4 that says, "Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one's youth. I've heard church sermons about it, radio programs touching on it, friends commenting on it.  It felt like the idea of raising arrows has been chasing me around. 

I love the way Family Life today shares perspective on the subject here.  This quote, taken from that article, especially hits me in the season I'm in with a teen and tween. "The point of the arrow reminds us of the last essential quality we want to craft in a child: Every person needs a reason to live, a driving passion or calling that provides meaning and impact. This is a person's mission. We need to ask ourselves, "Have I more passion for the values of this world's system than for the things of God? What are my goals in life—are they ones I want my child to copy?" Every child should be helped to understand that life is a dynamic relationship with God that overflows in love to other people—a love that the Holy Spirit uses to reconcile the lost to God. Everything else, as good or innocuous as it may be, is only a prop to facilitating this mission" 

Kind of gives a nice refocus to MY mission as their mama, raising them up to point outward, into this world.  Oh Lord, let me be worthy of this task!  So I made some artwork out of it and some of the cutest arrows to hang on my wall as a reminder.  I had to share the DIY in case you wanted to do likewise.  I made two because I've been given two children.
 I gathered a few bits of fall to make a mini gallery, and the collage pin board that was previously here is on the wall opposite.  Makes for a fun conversation piece as people are coming and going.  That photo of an 18 month old JJ (as he was called back then) was the moment that I realized I wanted to learn photography for real.  That was the photo, the moment, the magic happened for me.  I'd always had a desire to learn photography but that moment was the one where I went, "YEP I'm doing this!"
 To make your own arrow, you will need the following:
A wooden dowel, a piece of thin wood like balsa wood, 1/8" thick. A pheasant feather, x-acto knife, hot glue, paint colors of your choosing (mine above), and optional- gold leaf paint.

Step 1- paint your wood dowels any way you choose.  I freehanded mine but you could tape things off to make them all perfect-y. I'm not so into that.  I let mine dry overnight. I also left lots of the natural wood showing.
 Step 2- cut a chunk off the bottom of a pheasant feather.  The bottom has the thickest shaft down the center and that's really helpful when you're slicing it in half.  I cut mine about 6 inches long. Slice very carefully, and you should end up with part of the shaft on each feather piece, that way none of the feathery bits will fall off.  You can trim the ends to a point like I did.
 Step 3- hot glue a thin line at the ends and place feather half into it.  Do the same with the opposite side and see photo below.
 This is how it should look once glued.
Step 4- Now I didn't take any photos of this part because I was too busy...but it's pretty basic. The balsa wood piece I used was thin enough to cut a triangle shape out with my scissors.  Then I hot glued it right to the end of the dowel. 
 Step 5- This was my favorite part. I used liquid gold leaf to add finishing touches like stripes and covered the point with it as well.  It kind of gave the hot glued end a finished appearance. 
 Once dry, I used 2" L-hooks" to hang each arrow up on the wall. 
 Before I hung my little mini gallery I laid everything out on the floor and arranged it how I wanted, then snapped a photo of it so I wouldn't forget how it needed to look. 

 I hand-lettered this verse (because I love that sweetly imperfect look) to go along with it, and have made it available in my shop for you, here.  Also, the wheat wreath... LOVE how it turned out.  I used the inside ring of an embroidery hoop that I had and then hot glued the ends of wheat stalks right onto it!  So easy but I did burn myself a few times.  So be careful if you make one!

 This makes my heart happy. 

 (Shh... don't tell anyone that there are still bits of hot glue on this wreath when the light hits it. Ha!)
 Also.  After many months of passing this huge school house light longingly in the garage, in it's box... it now has a home above my island!  EEE!!!  All thanks to my sister in law's friend who is an electrician, who gave us a great "friend deal."  (It's the same color as the one above the sink but the light is making it look more orange and golden- just so you know.  Not that you cared.  I just tend to over share.) This thing is 16"... so perfect for this spot.  (We got our lights at Destination Lighting.)
 And finally... shameless shop plug- Christmas prints are heading out the door and I wanted to show them in case you "needed' one for yourself or a loved one.  Clockwise from left- Come all Ye Faithful,  Vintage Ornament Giclee (also available as a wrapped canvas), and baby deer watercolor.
 Clockwise from left- Quotable Christmas print, Merry Everything (and baby deer again) (Click individual links, or here to shop!)

Okay friends I hope you enjoyed your stop here!  Let's go out and take this parenting gig on with purpose! 
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Friday, October 10, 2014

Weekend thoughts

There was a crushing weight recently.  You may have sensed it here and there from snippets in my writing here and on Instagram.  Mostly I questioned blogging itself in that time period, but of course it went deeper for me.  I questioned those daily happenings because my daily life was in turmoil for various reasons that I won't delve too deeply into here.  Motherhood failures.  Friendship aches.  Life choices gone wrong or looking ahead yet to be made.  Family drama on every side.  It was too much and I know you can relate because we all have seasons that feel just that- "too much." 

I think often, we don't know how deeply we've sunk until we've been pulled out and can see the waves crashing beneath us as we're lifted to safety.  We look down and see the choppy waters that had been inches from dragging us under permanently and we feel strong emotions.  We feel relief, gratitude and often... fear that it will most likely happen again after a period of calm.  And when that next storm hits, will we survive?  Will the waves submerge us to the point of death?  Will the source that pulled us out continue to be reliable and trustworthy... will our rescuer continue to care enough to bother with us?

In these moments of calm, when my heart is full, I make a point to jot it down.  Here, in a journal, out loud to listening ears... someplace so that the ripeness of this solitary moment of calm is felt, remembered, and acknowledged.  I'm in that moment as I write to you this day.  Here in my home it is still.  Quiet.  Good.

 I'm coming off four of the most glorious days of motherhood I've had in months.  I saw a very specific prayer for my son get an answer and with it came a domino effect of good that has weighed me down like new snow on a branch.  Beautiful and clean and blessedly fragile but good nonetheless.  I'll take it.  And I'll document it because the weeks before this string of pearl-like days were ruthless.  They were awful and dark and hopeless and I wasn't sure of anything last weekend, as I shook and cried in Adrain's arms sobbing, "I feel so out of control"... and he held me close and shushed me and gently patted my hair (why does that moment feel so clear) and murmured, "I know sweetie...I know..." A dam was breaking in my heart and I felt that at any moment I was going to fall apart in the worst of ways. 

All around us we see miniature storms swirling around our loved ones and we can't fix any of them.  Adrain and I are both the eldest in our sibling groups and we are identically responsible, efficient, highly motivated and we solve problems.  Yet we're powerless with nearly all the situations around us, and that knowledge has robbed me of much precious sleep this week.  At one point I was wide awake at two am listing off prayers for people I know well and people I have never met in person but have become a part of my life via the internet.  Loved ones, all of them.  

In those dark silent moments this is a favorite from Isaiah 43:2 (The Message) (Also a personal favorite even though Adrain isn't a huge fan of the Message version.) (Whatevs... its speaks to me.) (grin) 

When You’re Between a Rock and a Hard Place

43 1-4 But now, God’s Message,
    the God who made you in the first place, Jacob,
    the One who got you started, Israel:
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
    I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
    When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
    it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
    The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
    all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That’s how much you mean to me!
    That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
    trade the creation just for you.

I love it.  I hope it lifts you up because it's a sure promise no matter your storm or the burden you're carrying. 

(All images included in this post, were taken from my Instagram feed)
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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

My {fall} house tour...

I almost didn't share a full-blown fall house tour because everything looks basically the same as it always does... but with a pumpkin on it. Regardless, I had a few of you ask me, "When are you going to share your fall house??"  

Well... er... here ya go!  

My house.  With a pumpkin on it. (grin)

As you know, everything is constantly rotating, evolving and changing, then changing back because "I wasn't fond of that bland pillow from a distance and one small tweak changed the whole look" maybe it's not as bleak and boring as I'm making it out to be.  The older I get, the more minimalistic I tend to be.  My life is more chaotic than it used to be, so I need to walk in and see relatively few clutter spots. 

I'd also like to say for the record, I'm a huge fan of crazy and different pumpkins... BUT... orange will always have my heart and you can't go wrong with them, so this year, I went classic. 
Front porch welcome.  Old blanket, recovered old pillows from fabric I had on hand and a great piece of flannel I purchased for $2.00  I painted the "gather" word on my long pillow to mimic Pottery Barn cuteness that wasn't in my budget. (I used screen printing fabric and a paint brush because that's what I had on hand, but any fabric paint would work.)
 Simple. (The back of our house is painted with the new color but we are still waiting for a friend to come spray the rest of the house.  Supposedly it's happening soon... I'm praying the rains hold off til we can get that done!  However, I am loving the new color and can't wait to share!)
 When you walk in my front door, this is what greets you in the hallway.  Three classic orange pumpkins.  (The  minimalist inside me rejoices.  Ha!)
 Mr. Chickenpox (the cream-painted rooster) came out to sit as well.  I shall never be able to get rid of him because I still remember my kids riding him.  And naming him Mr. Chickenpox. 
 Before you walk into the main part of our home, to your left is our office/guest room/art studio space.  It's our "everything room" and the only thing I added for fall in here, is a hazelnut candle.  But it's a cute room and since we're doing a house tour, I took a couple pictures of it. 

 Walking down the hall and around the corner is our kitchen!  I added a cute lit pumpkin on the counter top and a fall-scented candle. 
 This print is from my shop...
 And this pumpkin was 70% off at Hobby Lobby and was an ugly red color so I spray painted it glossy white and stuffed a string of white lights inside it.  It's my favorite.
 Actually I lied.  This is my favorite.  This old metal drawer I have had for years now... I drilled a hole in the end and we made a little charging station for our kiddo phones!  (I am a firm believer in phones not in rooms after bedtimes.  Trust me... not a good idea no matter how good your kids are.  We've had some learn-the-hard way moments... Luckily not horrific, but enough to remind us to keep a closer watch.)
 We may never get that Seahawks puzzle on the tabletop finished.  It's so hard... We're on month two of it...
 (I already shared these a while ago. Nothing changed.)
 You may notice I went back to the old green and blue corner pillow.  I am drooling over a feather pillow from Pottery Barn... DROOLING!!  I want it so badly but I am gonna have to work on sweet talking my man on that one! (I believe it would be perfect there.)  For now, this is the scene that greets me and I love it.  I moved the (grocery store find) deer antlers from my bedroom where they were hanging, to the space above the lamp. It was instant love.
Grateful pumpkin print from my shop... and I know this wall is so, so bland.  I do have big plans for it...I have been dreaming of what I plan to do here for a year now... it's just not happening any time soon. Sigh.

 My son's feathers...

Peeking out from the hallway in between my kid's rooms.  (Actually, I am standing in the door of our main bathroom.) (Yes our house is that tiny.) (This vintage typewriter print also from my shop. )

 Our cozy nook in our bedroom... aka my hideaway spot!  (This area has paid for itself a million times over for me.) I added a white (real) pumpkin.  I drew a heart and arrow with a pencil, then pressed gold thumb tacks from my junk drawer into it!  I doubt it will last more than a few weeks but it is adorable and I plan to enjoy it while it does last.  (I'm not the biggest fan of those faux pumpkins that look like this, but if you don't mind them, this idea would sure last a lot longer!)

It makes me smile and is a perfect little fall touch for our bedroom.  Happy Fall you guys!
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